Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things (IoT)

The “Internet of things” (IoT) is an ever increasing and growing topic of conversation both in the workplace and outside of it. Techies are buzzing with this term.  It’s a concept that not only will impact on how we live our lives and how we work but will change it forever. But what exactly is the “Internet of things” and what impact is it going to have on you and I, if any?  I went searching everywhere online to find a definitive definition to the term but there are so many varying definitions of the term.  However I feel this describes what IoT essentially is.

this is the concept of basically connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet (and/or to each other). This includes everything from cellphones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices and almost anything else you can think of.

forbes.com

Back in 2014 It was estimated that every day we create more than 2.5 quintillion bytes of data, a number that is constantly on the rise. So where exactly is this data coming from? Among the sources of data are the sensors used to gather climate information, from posts to social media websites, digital
pictures and videos, purchase transaction records, cell phone GPS signals and other home devices connected to the internet. So as we know that devices connected to the internet have a capability to talk to each other.  So with the collection of this Big Data anything is possible.

As an example, consider the following scenario, we often hear of bridges around the world collapsing and killing many people, because of steel plates that were inadequate to handle the bridge’s load. When we rebuild bridges, imagine if we can use smart cement: cement that is equipped with tiny sensors that will monitor stresses, cracks, and bending. When any of these are detected, this cement will alert us to fix problems before they cause a catastrophe. However, these technologies aren’t just limited to the bridge’s structure, there is more.

bridge image
Imagine If we could prevent this from ever happening

Imagine if there’s ice on the bridge, the same sensors embedded in the concrete will detect it and communicate the information via the wireless internet to your car. Once your car knows there’s a hazard ahead, it will instruct the driver to slow down, and if the driver doesn’t, then the car will slow down for him. This is just one of the ways that sensor-to-machine and machine-to-machine communication can take place. Sensors on the bridge connect to machines in the car: we turn information into action. This connectivity doesn’t just end there with bridges connecting to cars, it can also have immense benefit for individuals like you you and I. Imagine if your fridge had sensors that were able to detect what stuff is running out perhaps by weight of even expiry dates and automatically compiled a shopping list that is texted to you so you can pick them up on your way home. Or even more bigger, imagine if because of some wearable device you could detect an impending heart attack so you can have time to seak medical help and avert the attack. Amazing right?

Challenges

While the Internet of things may sound amazing though it does not come without any challenges. Among the main challenges facing IoT are :

  • Privacy – For internet of things to be a success, the companies producing connectivity devices will have to charge reasonable and affordable prices to make the accessible which means forfeiting some profits. However the real value is in the data they are collection and storing about our habits and everyday life patterns.
  • Security – This is major concern and challenge associated with IoT,
    Matthew Garrett Hotel Hacking and the Ring Doorbell Pro
  • Communication Platforms – Companies like Apple, Google and Amazon are developing devices separately and there are no standards for them to communicate across standard platforms.
  • Device performance – There are concerns about the performance and maintenance of all these devices. Questions like what happens when companies that have produced IoT machines go out of business, leaving their products unusable, or full of bugs that can never be corrected. If faulty and unmaintained, these devices have the potential of throwing all manner of information onto the Internet, and without anyone to control this output, problems can arise
  • Big Business Market Manipulation – Arising from the separate development platforms of IoT devices, there are fears that Big companies could produce products that will only communicate with their own devices which would result in vendor lock in for users.

The soaring number of mobile devices around the world is changing the way we work, the way we live, and the way we interact and connect.

Cisco.com

Advantages



The inclusion of the Internet of things into our lives comes with many advantages, which can help individuals, businesses, and society on a daily basis. For individuals these benefits can come in many forms including health, safety, financially, and every day planning.

  • Health – A chip could be implemented into each individual, allowing for hospitals to monitor the vital signs of the patient. By tracking their vital signs, it could help indicate whether or not serious assessment is necessary. By monitoring individual’s health, it will allow them to judge who needs primary attention.
  • Safety – The Internet of Things can also assist people with their personal safety. Home security systems allows individuals to monitor their security systems at home from anywhere through their phones, with the ability to control it while some systems embedded in cars can detect if a crash has occurred and automatically calls for rescue services.
  • Financially – From a financial aspect, if your home appliances are able to communicate, they can operate in an energy efficient way such as light bulbs turning themselves off when rooms are unoccupied and saving you money on bills in the process.



The rewards from the interconnected devices can be reaped by Businesses as well. This can be used in many different categories such as asset tracking and inventory controls, shipping and location, security, individual tracking, and energy conservation methods.


Whether you like it or not, One thing is for sure, The internet of things is the future of technology. Just as with any technology, while there are always repercussions and controversies, IoT is a concept that will have an enormous effect on the world and we should all embrace it as it will help mankind reach his full potential.


References :

www.internetsociety.org
www.forbes.com
www.readwrite.com
www.cisco.com

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